"The Girl Next Door" Premiere Coverage
EMILE HIRSCH (‘Matthew’):
What was the best part of working on “The Girl Next Door?”
All of the experiences, hanging with people,
Elisha, Paul [Dano], Chris [Marquette], Luke [Greenfield], Tim [Olyphant].
I’ve heard people say this is going to be another “America Pie.” What do you say to that?
I have to say, “Damn the competition to hell.” I think it’s its own thing. I don’t like comparing
things, really. I think people are going to think what they think and it’s going to be its own thing. I’ve always
been against trying to make a movie like another movie. That’s lame. It’s already been done, so why do it again?
Did you feel more pressure playing a lead role and having to carry a film?
It’s fun. I like having a lead
role. I feel grateful to be here – and I just work from there.
Why do audiences love wild teen comedies like this?
I don’t know. It’s one of those mysteries. It’s
Can you talk about the movie’s nude scenes?
That was a body double. I was only 17 at the time. The inner
tube scene was originally supposed to be me naked and I was like, “Can I have a garbage bag diaper?” And they
were like “No,” and Luke said I could have an inner tube.
How do you describe ‘Matthew?’
He’s a good guy who hasn’t broken out of his shell yet.
He needs a little bit of help.
Does the girl next door help him with that?
(Smiling) I’d say she broke me out of my shell.
Interview: The Stars of Lords of Dogtown
We talk to Emile Hirsch, John Robinson, and Victor Rasuk about the skateboarding flick.
June 01, 2005 - The
last thing we need is a bunch of posers trying to act like skaters. How could a bunch of pretty boy actors really deliver
the goods in Lords of Dogtown? Fortunately, some of them already had beginner's skills and the three-month training
course gave them enough ability that they didn't have to shoot all the skating footage from behind to hide the doubles. Kind
of like The Matrix. Keanu couldn't win a street fight, but he looks like he could in the movie.
Emile Hirsch, who plays Jay Adams, grew up skateboarding in Venice Beach. All he
had to learn was the old school style of tricks, since the Z Boys' era was before his time.
"New School is like flip tricks and stuff like that on new types of boards," Hirsch said. "Old School
is like these tiny little boards in pools and stuff. So growing up I was doing flip tricks and I was ollieing off of stairs
and I was grinding on sidewalks and fences and that kind of stuff. It's very technical tricks with the board. But Old School
is vert and I'd never really done vert. I mean, I'd done a little bit of vert. I'd skated every summer at the Santa Fe Skate
Park everyday. That's what I did for years during summer. I skated down to the skate park, plop down, skate and just chill."
Hirsch spent the three months learning how to skate in a pool, as well as surf waves on the beach.
"It was surfing in the morning and skating in the afternoon. Tony Alva was our coach. He's not the easiest coach to work with.
He's not like a coach. He tells you how to do it, and is like, 'Just do it. Just f***ing do it, dude!'"
Naturally, Hirsch earned some scars. "I had the misfortune of getting what skateboarders call hippers.
It's when you fall on your hip again and again and again, just the same spot. It turns into like a blue purple bruise and
it's just torture because I had to keep on doing the same move, going around in the pool again. I'd just keep falling on this
thing, and I'd be tearing up and getting angry and throwing the board in anger a lot of times."
Robinson, who plays Stacy Peralta, had experience standing on a moving board, though not one with wheels on it. "I grew up
in Portland, Oregon, so I snowboarded and wakeboarded," he said. "I had the balance, I had the board sports down and I was
definitely an adrenaline junkie. So when I came on, I was obsessed with learning to skate. I felt that if we could look like
we could skate on film, and if I felt like I could go and do the moves that they were doing, then my acting would just kind
of come with it. I didn't really have to act if I had the skating down. If I was able to have the ego of skating then that
would just follow."
John Robinson, Victor Rasuk and Emile Hirsch in Lords of Dogtown
As Hirsch said, the training was focused on '70s style skateboarding, so that also meant using old
equipment. "They gave us the original boards, because if we learned on the new boards we probably would have gotten a lot
better, but then we'd get on the old boards while filming, we wouldn't be able to do anything. I mean, the pro skaters had
to learn how to skate on these things. They had to learn how to skate all over again, because this skating was completely
different than modern-day skating."
Robinson sprained his ankle and tore ligaments in his foot halfway through filming.
He skated too high in the pool and fell onto the concrete. "And I came to Catherine one day and I was like, 'I can't even
walk and I've gotta go skate this pool right now. What am I going to do here?' And she was like, 'Maybe you should stay off
it. It'll get better. You'll be able to skate again in the film.' And they took me to their doctor and I had all this acupuncture
to bring the pressure down and all this stuff that actually really helped. I went to the ER and they gave me medication, like
whatever. And then I go to this other guy and he puts a couple needles in and puts his hands on different areas and does a
little stuff and my ankle was feeling better."
It wasn't a miracle cure though, as Robinson had to then learn how to skate with a taped ankle. "I
had to lock my ankle every single day, because it was all this motion [twisting ankle] that I couldn't do. I had to shave
my leg, half my leg, to put all this tape on. Since we had these hardcore stunt coordinators, they taped every body part you
could imagine. So I taped it so I couldn't even move it in any direction [and] had to skate with that, which is really difficult,
because skating is your ankles, that's what you use mostly to control the board."
Rasuk, who plays Tony Alva, was the only actor of the trio who had no board sport experience before the film. He was worried
about being considered a poser, but ultimately earned the respect of the skateboarding community.
The Z-Boys (John Robinson, Emile Hirsch, Michael Angarano and Victor Rasuk)
"We actually got more respect for taking on such a huge task, from the skateboarding community, and
it wasn't like we came on and not knowing that we might get injured. We took a job knowing that we might have got injured,
and the time that we got injured, it was the time when we got most respect from the actual skateboarders. And we did get injured."
Rasuk recalled how his first major injury became a bonding moment with Alva. "My first two weeks that
I was here, because I was being taught by Tony Alva, I was starting to become really cocky. I went down a five foot ramp.
Only two weeks of skating I went down a five foot ramp, I flipped and fractured an orbital bone. I got so much respect from
Tony Alva from that and it got around. It wasn't just Tony Alva that knew about it. It got around the skateboarding world."
Missing two weeks of training for that injury was a small price to pay for joining the elite club.
The scariest element for Rasuk was actually the surf training.
"The strong tides, like we surfed right next to Imperial Beach, which is right next to Tijuana, and
the current around there just goes everywhere. And during the weekend, obviously the contamination level skyrockets, and that's
when we shot. So a few of us got really, really sick, like I mean completely sick."
Still, it was pool skating that was the most dangerous. "Right when we stepped in the pool, I mean,
it was pretty much inevitable that you were going to walk away with a bad injury."
of Dogtown opens June 3.
Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk, Michael Angarano and Heath Ledger
Emile Hirsch of Lords of Dogtown
Interview by John Hutchins, contributing editor
Jay Adams, considered to be the "seed" of the Zephyr team and the recluse of the group, has avoided doing press for Lords
of Dogtown. The next best thing? Emile Hirsch, who does an excellent job of portraying him in the film. Emile was also
recently seen in The Girl Next Door, Imaginary Heroes and The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.
UGO: Were you into skateboarding before doing the movie?
EMILE HIRSCH: Yeah. I grew up skateboarding in Venice, coincidentally. I got my first board when I was like six
years old. It was a scooter. I broke the handle off and started skating around on my knees, bopping around. I got a scar on
my chin and had to go to the hospital but wouldn't stop skating just because of that. Pretty soon I made it to standing up
and my grandmother gave me a Terminator 2 skateboard and I started skating that. I got my first pro new-school board
when I was 19. I have a huge collection of boards now from growing up, 20 or 30 boards. Each board has different memories
UGO: Were you more advanced than your co-stars?
EMILE: Yeah. As far as new-school skating goes, I never did vert [vertical pool skating], so I had to learn with
them and John [Robinson] ended up being better than me. But as far as grinds and flip-tricks, that's what I did in middle
school. Me and my friends would break into a high school and skate until the security guard chased us away. I remember a funny
story: we were skating El Camino High, illegally, and a security guard chased us. It was like out of a movie. I was climbing
over the fence - I was the last one - my pants got stuck, and he's like loving it, he's coming up on me and he knows he's
going to get me. Right at the last minute I jerked it free and I went over. We were screaming and he was like, "You damn kids!"
We were little skate rats.
UGO: Were your memories as a kid what attracted you to this role?
EMILE: Totally. It's like a Marvel geek getting to play his favorite superhero that he's been reading about for
years. I felt a huge respect...I had to fill the shoes. It was more than just another part; this is where I'm from, this is
what I did.
UGO: Is Jay Adams the person you would have been most drawn to?
EMILE: Yeah. Definitely. I saw the documentary a few years before I knew about a movie being made. My dad was like,
"You gotta go check this out." I walked out and I was like "Wow, I wish I could play that Jay Adams part." I heard they were
making it into a movie a couple years later; apparently David Fincher wanted to cast actual skaters who couldn't act at all.
It never got off the ground. A year later, Art Linson - he's the executive producer, I was working on Imaginary Heroes
- he goes, "You know we're making Dogtown right now and Catherine Hardwicke is going to direct it." I hadn't seen
Thirteen at the time. He goes, "Yeah, so maybe play Jay Adams." He said Jay Adams and I was like, schwing!
UGO: So what was it like hanging out with him, preparing for the part?
EMILE: Originally, I was like "I'm gonna go to Hawaii on my own and I'm gonna hang out with him for seven days and
sleep on his couch and we're just gonna hang out." I told that to everybody and Catherine was like "No, you're not. You're
not going to Hawaii, you've got to train." She was scared I was going to go out on my own and get into some serious trouble
with Jay, because Jay's very wild.
UGO: Is he still?
EMILE: Yeah. Oh yeah, he's not very different. So it ended being that John Linson, the producer, would accompany
me to Hawaii. We went, and it was for my 19th birthday and we went to the Turtle Bay Hilton and we hung out with Jay Adams.
I sensed immediately that Jay doesn't like to be interviewed. He hates being interviewed, in fact. He'd answer me with such
vague answers, such short answers, I was like "I'm just gonna let him have some free air and maybe I'll get gold if he starts
talking about himself on his own." That's what he did. He started talking and telling me different stories. His biggest piece
of advice was, "Make sure the relationship between my mom and me is strong, because it was. We were best friends." And "ego
is poison," those were his two main things for me.
UGO: What's he doing these days?
EMILE: I don't know. At a certain point I know he was repairing surfboards. I know he has a couple of sponsors and
he' trying to work on a shoe deal and stuff like that. Hopefully he'll be able to make some money off this film. He has a
house right outside pipeline, though. Like right outside pipeline. You walk outside and there's pipeline waves crashing
right there, and pipeline's only like a couple hundred feet long. I thought it was like this stretch of miles on the coast
of Hawaii; no, it's like a couple hundred feet long. So, contrary to some images that the documentary presents, it's not all
dark. There is a light, really fun side that is his life in Hawaii. Surfing and skating, being a legend in Hawaii.
UGO: Was there anything about him in the script that didn't make it into the movie?
EMILE: There was a lot of insanity I wanted in there even more. Some of the stuff just wouldn't work with the story.
I wanted him to skate-snatch a wig off an old lady's head. I wanted him to skate on the freeway and get a ticket. I wanted
to have scenes where he was throwing dirt-clods at people and hitting them in the head. There was actually a really messed
up scene that never made it in where he backs up his car - this car had really insane amounts of exhaust - he backs up right
in front of this old lady carrying groceries and floors it while breaking, and covers this woman in a cloud of smog, then
puts it in drive and speeds off. I thought that would show what a brat he could be.
An Interview with Emile Hirsch
We talk to Elisha Cuthbert's lucky co-star in The Girl Next Door.
April 08, 2004 - "When I got a lap dance, because I was 17, they had
to put a massive pillow between me and the girl when she was grinding me. It was weird, yet pleasurable." So speaks actor
Emile Hirsch about the less-than-sexy travails of working on his latest movie The Girl Next Door. Hirsch plays a suburban
teen who discovers his neighbor (played by 24's Elisha Cuthbert) is a former porn star, and the young performer recently
spoke to IGN FilmForce about the experience, describing how it took more than a little persuasion to convince the usually
indie-friendly actor to take a starring role in a mainstream teen sex comedy.
Director Luke Greenfield (The Animal) was intent on getting the Emperor's
Club star for his film, but as both he and Hirsch reported, the young actor was initially disinterested in joining a potentially
puerile project. "I don't really want to do a teen comedy, you know? I mean, I just didn't want to be in a bad movie, that's
all. There are some very good teen movies, but when I met Luke I realized it could be very good," said Hirsch, whose scruffy
countenance resembled manic funnyman Jack Black. "I was doing all these dramas and I was like, 'O h, I can't do a teen comedy.'
But the deciding factor for me was Luke, because he was so driven, so passionate, so relentless, that I became completely
convinced that he would make a great movie."
Greenfield eventually wrote Hirsch an impassioned letter explaining why he would be perfect for the
role. "It was telling me how this is not a teen comedy. [The letter said,] 'I really want to make this thing. I am determined
to make this a great movie.'" Hirsch indicated Greenfield wasn't above a bit of name-dropping – namely that of screenwriter
Stuart Blumberg's longtime pal and collaborator – to coerce his young star to pay closer attention to the project. "He
dropped, 'Ed Norton read the script too, and he was a little surprised you wouldn't like it.' It was just funny, like he was
trying to scare me into taking the meeting."
Evidently, Greenfield's tactics worked, because the two found themselves sharing a meal soon thereafter
to discuss the movie. "We literally sat down for like four hours at Jerry's Deli, and I just sat there and we ordered food
and we talked about everything from the movie to Leonardo da Vinci to music – I mean we talked about everything,"
said Hirsch, now long since convinced of the director's honorable intentions. "I just wanted to get to know him, because in
an hour meeting sometimes it's too fast and someone might be nervous, but when you sit down with someone for four hours, you're
going to get to know them a little bit, you know?"
|-Photo credit: Peter Iovino|
Elisha Cuthbert and Emile Hirsch in The Girl Next Door
But back to the grinding, for heaven's sake. The actor actually turned 18 during
principal photography of the film, but several of the scenes shot prior to his birthday required a dexterous bit of negotiating
on the part of the filmmakers to ensure that his virtue remain, ahem, uncompromised. "I was 18 when we shot [the sex scene],
but it was ironic because I could have done all the nudity in the movie, but they scheduled some of that stuff first," referring
to scenes in which he visits a strip club, and when he's forced to publicly strip and run down the streets of his character's
neighborhood. "I was 17 so they had to use a body double, but I would have gotten naked or whatever."
Hirsch indicated that some of the scenes were re-shot with a more chaste approach in mind not because
of moral concerns, but because they presented a logistical problem for the dialogue: "There was some strip club stuff where
the girl actually had her top off, but I guess it didn't make the final cut because I was told, with the girls' tops off,
nobody got any of the jokes because they were all staring at the girls. It didn't get any laughs and it's these hilarious
lines." In the case of the climactic sex scene, Hirsch explained he didn't even film it on the same day as his co-star, instead
matching reverse shots from different days, but found the experience not at all dissimilar from some of his more personal
moments of intimacy. "How does it feel to have sex by myself? You know – very much at home."
Such a gratuity of sexual tomfoolery might make the film seem like it was merely
following in the footsteps of recent teen comedies like American Pie and Road Trip, but Hirsch says that he
and Greenfield set their sights on one of the genre's estimable predecessors and tried to improve on its impeccable formula.
"I had already seen Risky Business and it was always my wish that we surpass it – I was always like, 'This has
to be better than Risky Business. That was my goal from day one." At the same time, Greenfield gave Hirsch a laundry
list of other similarly-toned films to watch in order to get into the proper Girl Next Door mind set, but he didn't
quite make it through: "He wanted me to watch Something Wild, but I didn't finish though. I don't know why –
maybe I fell asleep because it was late."
The question remains, does Hirsch feel like his film lives up to those precursors who inspired its
existence? "Oh yeah – in my opinion, a lot more. I watched Risky Business recently and... I don't know, maybe
it's because I'm competitive with it, but for some reason I don't click with that movie any more."
industry-requisite teen comedy under his belt, Hirsch indicates that his future films aren't going to veer too much further
into blockbuster territory, whether this film is a success or not. "I'm pretty selective. I'm not like a prima donna or something
like that, but if I don't like something I'm not going to do it. I don't want to be like, 'Oh, I have good taste,' because
then I sound like an idiot. I trust my instincts." He suggests that despite the preponderance of belief that perception is
everything in Hollywood, when it comes to picking films, that time-worn adage just ain't necessarily so. "Is there a preconceived
notion about doing a funny, silly teen movie? No. [For me,] I just hadn't read it at the time. It's not about what
the notions are, it's about what it is."
Hirsch and Cuthbert in The Girl Next Door
At the same time, Hirsch acknowledges that his versatility – whether it's in his performances
or in his choices – may be the most effective key to crafting a long-term career in Hollywood. "Other than The Girl
Next Door, everything else I've done is pretty serious. I haven't done only this type of thing. I did this to kind of
explore a little bit and do something different, and I thought it would be fun. I think it's about doing good work and hopefully
the work will speak for itself."